"Every man under his vine and under his fig tree"

God's loving provision for His children has long been the theme of poets and singers. Men are learning the practical wisdom of looking to God for prosperity, security, and assurance of supply for their human needs. Many today have looked longingly at the beautifully simple picture of security and plenty portrayed in the fourth chapter of the first book of Kings, in these words: "Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon." While it is not feasible for everyone to do literally today as Judah and Israel did, the moral and spiritual meaning of this Biblical record is an aid to everyone who uses it.

A practical ideal was given by God to Moses, to be imparted by him to the Israelites, which affords food for thought. In this plan each tribe of Israel was to have its own inheritance of land, which was in turn to be divided among the families making up the tribe. One exception was the tribe of Levi, which, as employed in the sanctuary, was to receive tithes from the other tribes. Thus each individual was placed in a position of independence, with the opportunity to live in harmony with his neighbors in obedience to divine law. If an Israelite became poor and had to sell his land or a part of it, even so the land was recoverable in the year of jubilee, which occurred every fiftieth year. If, by reason of pressing needs, an Israelite became servant to another, he was released in the jubilee year. This ideal, which may be taken to exemplify the primal freedom and spiritual individuality of man made in God's likeness, was expressed in practical terms suited to that time and those circumstances.

The children of Israel did not prove fully the possibilities of obedience to divine law; but when through repentance and renewed consecration they corrected their mistakes, they prospered. The prophet Micah gave inspired instruction whereby the people might rise out of the valley of materialism, with its accompanying depression, discord, and lack, into the mount of spiritual understanding, with its attendant fullness, abundance, and joy. Micah declared, as recorded in the fourth chapter of the book which bears his name, "The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it." These are remarkable words, which, quite obviously, cannot be understood in a merely literal sense. This proven supremacy of spiritual law was to be manifested in this practical result: "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." The continuance of this happy state, spiritually understood, was to be assured by keeping the promise in the next verse, "And we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever."

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Practical Salvation
May 4, 1935

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